3D images help find untapped riches

Victoria could be set for a new gold rush with the Brumby Government investing in a state-of-the-art 3D facility to help prospectors accurately locate Victoria’s vast untapped mineral, oil and gas deposits.

Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor said the 3D Visualisation Room at GeoScience Victoria was the first State-run facility of its kind in Australia and would help reduce the time, cost and risk of searching for mineral and petroleum deposits.

An estimated 30-50 million ounces of gold was yet to be discovered in Victoria, and some of that lay underground north of Bendigo and near Walhalla and Woods Point.

“Fifty years ago, understanding the complex geology of Victoria was a hit and miss affair, with geologists and scientists relying on trial and error in their search for mineral deposits,” Batchelor said.

“Visualising Victoria’s geology in three dimensions will provide new insight into the geology beneath the Earth’s surface and enable modern explorers to better interpret and understand their data.

“As Victoria’s resources are explored at deeper levels, better access to the latest technologies will help to make our State an ideal location for investors.

“The 3D Visualisation Room will allow geologists and exploration managers to see and analyse the plumbing network that runs through the Earth’s crust and will enable them to more accurately predict the location of mineral deposits, hydrocarbon, gold and base metals,” he said.

The 3D room allows exploration companies to look at maps of Victoria and Bass Strait in 3D form showing where mineral, oil and gas deposits were located, giving them an accurate location of where to drill.

Batchelor said the technology would assist the development of a whole-of-Victoria 3D model currently being constructed as part of the Brumby Government’s $2.5 million Rediscover Victoria 3D initiative.

“The resources sector is worth more than $5 billion to the State’s economy and employs more than 10,000 people in Victoria,” he said.

“The development of this facility not only benefits the State’s mining industry, but it also has flow-on benefits for our economy and local communities, such as increased employment opportunities.”

According to Batchelor, the 3D maps would also help identify potential sites for geosequestration, which is the capture and permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas emitted from coal.

“GeoScience Victoria scientists have already started geology modelling of the offshore Gippsland Basin, showing oil and gas reservoirs, fluid pathways and potential carbon storage regions,” he said.

“In the 2008-09 State Budget we allocated $5.2 million over four years to investigate carbon storage sites in the Gippsland Basin, and this new 3D technology will help us to position Victoria at the forefront of this important research.”

“Last year, four companies were awarded new gold exploration licences for Walhalla-Woods Point area and they have committed to spend more than $10 million on exploration over five years,” Batchelor said.

Department of Primary Industries

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